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Date set for Vons to switch to Haggen

In a few months, the Vons in Boulder City will transform into a Haggen after the Washington-based chain begins its acquisition of about 150 stores throughout the western United States.

The acquisition of 146 stores is the result of the merger between Albertsons and Safeway, Vons’ parent company, which was approved by the Federal Trade Commission in late January.

Haggen will expand from 18 stores with 16 pharmacies to 164 stores with 106 pharmacies, according to a press release from the company. It also will expand its workforce from 2,000 employees to more than 10,000 as it transforms into a regional grocery chain covering five states.

Company spokeswoman Deborah Pleva said the stores will be acquired as they are converted. Typically, she said, the stores will close about 6 p.m. and Haggen will take ownership shortly after midnight. Stores will then be converted and reopen a day or two later.

“This momentous acquisition is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rapidly expand the Haggen brand across the West Coast,” said John Caple, chairman of the Haggen board and partner at Comvest Partners, a private investment firm that owns the majority share of Haggen. “Now that the deal has closed, our team is focused on seamlessly converting these 146 stores to the Haggen brand over the next five months.”

The company will convert the stores from north to south, with a few exceptions. The 83 stores in California and the 20 stores in Oregon will be converted from March to May. Seven Nevada stores and 10 Arizona stores are expected to be converted in the late spring. As many as 12 stores will be converted each week.

Pleva said employees at nonunion stores will be allowed to keep their jobs after the transition. She said those stores with unions will have to renegotiate their contracts.

“With the help of both our long-standing and new partners and employees, we are excited to offer our locally sourced produce and groceries, genuine service, and homemade quality to customers throughout Washington and Oregon and now in California, Nevada and Arizona,” said John Clougher, CEO of Haggen’s Pacific Northwest division.

Bill Shaner will serve as CEO of the Pacific Southwest division.

Contact reporter Steven Slivka at sslivka@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow him on Twitter @StevenSlivka.

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